The Impact of Humans on the Biological Diversity of Natural Ecosystems Introduction
Since humans have come into existence they have always been a cause of change of whatever natural areas they inhabit along with the living organisms of those natural areas. The different types of organisms such as plants, animals, and microorganisms that inhabit these areas are known as biological diversity or biodiversity. (USEPA 2010 ) Biological diversity can be affected by many different things, climate change, and area being two specific things. Humans fit into a strange niche of biological diversity. While we have a part of biodiversity and in ecosystems, the human race has spread much farther than any other breed or type of organism except for bacteria. (Diaz 2006) Humans have spread into so many other ecosystems that are not meant to be inhabited by humans and through technology, industrialization, and evolutionary changes have changed these natural ecosystems. As the population size of the human race increases the biological diversity of natural ecosystems seems to decrease. Humans have made an effect on several types of different systems aquatic, forest, and landscape conservations, changing permanently the biodiversity of these natural ecosystems in some form or fashion. White 2
Deforestation is one major issue that has been caused by human population growth. Deforestation is the loss of forest due to the act of trees being overcut. This becomes such a big issue due to a problem known as soil erosion that occurs when deforestation happens. Soil erosion is the loss of the protective top layers of soil which take away from the ability of the soil to soak up and hold water. (Stock and Rochen 2000) Beyond hurting the air quality that humans need soil erosion and deforestation becomes an issue that affects humans especially when it comes to agriculture. To have successful agricultural profit soil that has water holding properties is necessary. To yield a useful crop the top layers of soil are necessary which when deforestation is used to clear farm land are lost which keeps farmers from producing a good crop. Deforestation also causes many homes for different organisms to be lost endangerment and in extreme cases because the organisms natural habitat and food sources have been lost, extinction. Extinction becomes more likely when the majority of deforestation occurs in tropical regions for agriculture, paper from the trees, or industrialization these regions have numerous undiscovered organisms plant, animal, and microorganisms. Biological diversity and human welfare becomes compromised due to the ever extending reach and spread of the human population. Erosion
Erosion by definition is the wearing down of something by grinding away, such as the wear on the Earth due to wind and water. Erosion is a naturally occurring process but yet still dangerous and aided by humans and the spreading population of humans, wearing away at the Earth, there is lost biological diversity of different plants and animals, because, the natural White 3
ecosystem and habitat has been eroded away. When erosion happens plants are lost and a lot the times made to be extinct. Which slowly but surely causes there to be a less diverse population of different plant species. And when plants disappear the animals will to in search of food causing a geographic migration of different animal populations and species. “Rivers have been channelized to facilitate boat traffic, prevent flooding, and allow farming along their banks” (Audesirk 2008). As humans take from the environment we remove key nutrients and sediments from rivers and land, helping along the erosion process. Aquatic Systems
As humans water is a necessary part of our diet in order to live. While we spread throughout the globe not only do we tamper with the balance of biodiversity of land ecosystems we also tamper with the biodiversity of aquatic systems too. As the populations of...
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